I'd have to say that BBQ chicken pizza is probably one of most favorite types of pizza, if I'm going to go the less traditional route of tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni.
There's something very comforting and slightly more complex about the smoky and spicy BBQ sauce, the tender and juicy pieces of diced chicken, the grassy-green flavor of fresh cilantro, and the pop of sweet heat from thinly sliced red onion. Mmm, mmm.
But unless we decide to order a pie from a local pizza place, or go have a couple of slices at a sit-down restaurant, going through the whole process of pizza-making at home can be a little unappealing due to the simple fact that we're yet to get it quite right.
Either the dough doesn't bake up as it should because the oven temp isn't “just so” (either under-done or over-done in spots); or it's challenging to fit the pizzas into our oven in the first place, because the size isn't quite right, especially when making more than one.
And when we're already ravenous, there's very little more frustrating.
Now, that's not to say that I'm giving up on homemade pizza making, mind you—I'm sure at some point I'll have a homemade pizza recipe to offer up, but I'll need to be in an especially patient mood for that.
(Feel free to check back periodically to see if/when that patience materializes.)
But in the mean time, here's my simplifying fix: BBQ Chicken “Pizza” grilled cheese.
How much more ooey, gooey and delicious can it get?
Grilled cheese sandwiches are brilliant, because you can pretty much stuff anything delectable in between two slices of bread, grill it in a hot pan, and have an amazing and satisfying meal.
So why not cheat a little and go that route when it comes to making your favorite “pizza” at home?
When you choose a good bread, you've got that chewy element of crust; and then you've got your sauce, your cheese, your herbs and whatever other tasty toppings (or fillings, in this case) you'd like to add—what more could you ask for?
I just love not having to worry whether my crust will be under-baked in areas, or blackened in others!
So if you're looking to get your pizza fix on without needing (or kneading) the dough, so to speak, then a BBQ Chicken “Pizza” Grilled Cheese will totally be the perfect “slice” to park on your plate.
Taste what's good and pass it on.
BBQ Chicken “Pizza” Grilled Cheese with Smoked Mozzarella, Red Onion and Cilantro
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: Makes 2 sandwiches
• 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast, cooked and diced
• ¼ cup BBQ sauce
• 4 slices rustic-style bread
• 2-3 tablespoons softened butter
• 1 cup, heaping, grated smoked mozzarella cheese
• ¼ small red onion, sliced thinly
• 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
(*Using a common brick wrapped in foil as a “press” is perfect for this, and produces a nice, golden-brown and evenly melted sandwich!)
-Wrap a brick in foil, and set aside. (If you don't want to do this step, you can use a plate or other object to weigh down the sandwich a little, or press with a spatula while cooking.)
-Combine the diced chicken breast with the BBQ sauce, and set aside.
-Place the 4 slices of bread in front of you, and butter one side of each piece; flip two slices over so that the un-buttered sides are facing up.
-Add about ¼ cup of grated cheese to each of the two pieces of bread; add half of the chicken to each piece, then next some of the red onion and a sprinkle of cilantro; add another ¼ cup of the cheese over top of each; then, top each sandwich with a remaining slice of bread, buttered side up.
-Heat a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat; once nice and hot, add in one of the assembled sandwiches, and top with the foil-covered brick; allow to cook on that side for about 4 minutes (reduce the heat a little, if necessary), or until golden; flip, and repeat process, cooking for about 3 minutes or so.
-Repeat with second sandwich; then, cut both in half, and enjoy with favorite sides.